TACOMA, Wash. - University of Puget Sound is pleased to invite the community to its 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. The event at Kilworth Memorial Chapel will feature a thought-provoking keynote lecture by Professor Fred Johnson III, the Spring 2024 Swope Endowed Lecturer.

Dr. Fred Johnson III, sits in a maroon chair facing the camera.

Johnson, a renowned scholar of 19th-century United States history and the Guy Vander Jagt Professor of History at Hope College, will deliver a lecture titled "MLK: The Quintessentially American King." Through his address, Johnson will challenge attendees to reflect on the vision of a more perfect union and the realization of first-class citizenship for all Americans, as envisioned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“This month we celebrate Dr. King's legacy not only with words, but with an opportunity to be challenged, inspired, and empowered,” President Isiaah Crawford said. “Dr. Johnson’s lecture is an invitation to engage, question, and be moved by the insights he brings to promote the equitable pursuit of democracy in the United States."

The evening will also include welcome remarks, the presentation of Puget Sound's annual Keep Living the Dream Award, and a closing call to action by University Chaplain the Rev. Dave Wright. Following the program, attendees are invited to a reception with Johnson in Kilworth Lounge.

The event, organized by the Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity in collaboration with the Swope Endowed Lectures, is made possible through a generous endowment established in honor of Puget Sound alumna Jane Hammer Swope, Class of 1942. The Swope Endowed Lectures aim to foster engagement with themes of faith, ethics, values, or religion in society. 

The next Swope Lecture will take place in September and will feature Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.